French President Emmanuel Macron kicked off his first official visit to Greece on Thursday with a call for concerted efforts to tackle climate change, after Hurricane Irma slammed into the northern Caribbean with deadly force.
Irma, the strongest Atlantic Ocean hurricane on record, has affected French, British and Dutch Caribbean territories.
“All of France is grief-stricken by the many victims yesterday from the hurricane,” Macron said during statements alongside Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, noting the final death toll from the disaster still wasn’t known.
But he said, “our sentiments are frank only when what we say is backed by action. When what we say after such a disaster is followed up with actions that lead us to (its) causes.”
Referring to similar comments made by Pavlopoulos regarding global warming and climate change, Macron said the planet’s situation must be stabilized.
“All the decisions we will take from now on at a European level and an international level must lead us to combating global warming so we can avoid such natural disasters in the future,” he said.
Macron was at the start of a two-day visit to Greece, where he was expected to outline his vision for the future of the European Union and discuss Greece’s financial crisis. [AP]